A Quick Risotto Lesson


The following will help ease any fears of preparing risotto:

  • Use only Arborio or Carnaroli Rice, I prefer Carnaroli because it is a larger grain, giving risotto more body and texture.
  • Heat butter or oil in a pan and sauté chopped onions until translucent with whatever vegetables/meat/seafood, if any, the recipe calls for. Some should be reserved for later, but always start with onions regardless of what kind of risotto you make.
  • Add the rice, about a handful per person and stir continually to coat and toast the rice with the oil.
  • Add hot broth a cup at a time, stirring constantly. When all the liquid has been absorbed add more broth. Never add too much broth at one time. Use homemade broth when possible and keep it hot on the stove. A hot broth will keep the risotto cooking at a nice lightly bubbling simmer.
  • NEVER boil the risotto, it should be creamy! By adding the stock a cup at a time you will produce that wonderful creamy texture.
  • Add any other ingredients the recipe calls for.
  • Stir risotto constantly using a wooden spoon.
  • Do not overcook risotto. It should be served al dente and you must taste it often throughout the cooking process.
  • Fold in any cheese or herbs and serve immediately.


Vegetable Risotto Recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth, kept hot
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 cups assorted vegetables, diced 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream, whipped (optional)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup scallions, chopped
Truffle oil


  1. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and the rice, stir to mix and toast the rice allowing it to absorb some of the flavors. If using denser vegetables which take longer to cook, add them now.
  3. Add about 1 cup of the broth just to cover the rice. Continue stirring until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add more broth just to cover. Continue stirring and continue this process of adding broth as it is absorbed for about 12-15 minutes or until the rice is al dente.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and cook through. Add more broth if needed and season to taste.
  5. Stir in the butter, whipped cream, Parmesan and green onions. Simmer briefly, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and spoon onto plates. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve.


© Giovanni Cucullo 2010 / 2011


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